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Last week the Ritz-Carlton launched its highly anticipated loyalty program, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, for frequent-stay customers. Though loyalty programs have typically been the domain of airlines and mid-range hotel chains, the luxury brand is trying to attract business and leisure travelers to boost hotel occupancy. The high-end hotel business has suffered from the economic recession, and the Ritz-Carlton responded to customer feedback that indicated an increased demand for enticements.

This rewards program offers more than the usual complimentary stays and airline flights. The program will also allow members to redeem points for unique travel experiences such as personal shopping at Neiman Marcus stores or National Geographic Expeditions photography workshops.

The Ritz-Carlton is partnering with its parent company’s program, Marriott Rewards, so members of that program can now earn points and benefits at Ritz-Carlton Hotels. As of now, the hotel’s major competitor, the Four Seasons, has no plans to start a similar loyalty program.

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